Eli Manning Wouldn't Have Extended Career If Giants Were Winning: 'It Was Time'

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 23, 2021

New York Giants NFL football quarterback Eli Manning announces his retirement on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020, in East Rutherford, N.J. (AP Photo/Adam Hunger)
AP Photo/Adam Hunger

Eli Manning stepped away from football in 2020 after three straight losing seasons for the New York Giants, but he said it wouldn't be any different if the team was winning at the time.

"It was time to be done," Manning said Thursday, per Ralph Vacchiano of SNY. "My contract was up. I wasn't playing at the level I had played at. I knew it was time."

Though the 40-year-old admitted the lack of success did wear on him, it wasn't the only reason for stepping away.

"I saw the hits QBs were experiencing and I decided 'I do not want to feel that anymore,'" Manning continued. "I like how I feel Monday morning when I get up."

The quarterback started just four games in 2019 before making way for then-rookie Daniel Jones. 

Manning had started all but one game in the previous 14 seasons for the Giants, leading the team to two Super Bowl titles while earning four Pro Bowl selections. He currently ranks in the top 10 in NFL history in both passing yards (57,023) and passing touchdowns (366).

The team couldn't find as much success overall toward the end of his career, finishing with losing seasons in six of his last seven years. After New York went 11-5 with a wild-card berth in 2016, the squad won just eight games in the next two years combined.

The struggles led to the selection of Jones with the No. 6 overall pick in 2019, signaling the eventual end of Manning's time in New York.

He announced his retirement at the end of the season and seemingly had no second thoughts.

"I had my run," Manning said in September 2020. "Had an unbelievable career, whether it be from high school to college football and the NFL. I don't have regrets. I got out at the right time. I'm kind of just at peace with it." 

Manning has since secured a role in the Giants front office and hosts an alternate Monday Night Football broadcast on ESPN with his brother, Peyton Manning.